By Donna Steiner
Yesterday at dusk a deer walked through the yard. For about two seconds, we made eye contact. The deer stood still, body facing away, head turned toward me. “Be careful, baby,” I said, quietly. She had just crossed the road, and I was referring to cars, and hunters.
This morning I went outside and scanned the vicinity, visually tracing her path. I live on a ridge, which means she’d climbed uphill. She may have begun at the base of the ridge, where a stream carves through stands of trees and knots of underbrush. I’ve seen other deer down there, sipping clean water or, having heard the retort of a hunter’s gun, standing stock-still. Hunters aren’t permitted in the area, but posted bans are rarely enforced. One day I watched a deer stand, unmoving, for over 30 minutes. I needed binoculars to see to the base of the ridge. Every ten minutes or so I’d go back and check – the deer did not relent. Her life depended on her stillness – if she moved, she’d be shot.
I’ve lived in several locales that were appealing to hunters, and there were times I’ve worried that I would inadvertently become a target. When I wander into the yard, I try to remember to wear something bright and colorful. More often than not, however, I realize upon returning indoors that I’ve been clad in earth tones, moving slowly, potentially mistakable for a creature not human. Generally, when I hear gunshots, I stay inside. Continue Reading…